High-Tech Meets High Fashion

| By: Mae Johnson

High-Tech Meets High Fashion
Crew   It’s the rise of the machines—and haute couture is speaking the high-tech language. In the world of high fashion, designers and luxury house brands are constantly innovating to keep up-to-date with the ever-changing world.   Today, with all the advancements in technology, it’s no longer enough to simply launch new collections every season or be seen on the runways of fashion week events. Luxury designers are more open toward collaborating with high-tech brands and are further taking risks with dresses, handbags and jewelry that infuse smart technology.   Who could forget Diane von Furstenberg’s collaboration with Google Glass in 2013, for instance, wherein models walked down the runway wearing the high-tech eyewear? Although the look didn’t exactly invade street fashion, the collaboration was an important early step for the fashion industry toward marrying technology with haute couture.   In the past year, we’ve seen several high fashion brands experiment with technology. The likes of Zac Posen, Louis Vuitton, Marchesa and TAG Heuer, for instance, are pushing the boundaries of fashion by introducing style pieces that borderline science-fiction yet still very much haute couture.  

Illuminating Couture

  Perhaps you still recall Zac Posen’s illuminating Met Gala ball gown worn by Claire Danes, which looks like a glow-in-the-dark Cinderella ball gown embedded with fiber optic lights. It’s safe to say once midnight strikes and it’s time to run back to the carriage, there’s no disappearing into the darkness with this high-tech ball gown.  
  Fashion brand Marchesa also experimented with wearable technology. For last year’s Met Gala, the house brand teamed up with IBM and its supercomputer, Watson, to design a couture gown that reflected the public’s general sentiment. Using Watson’s Tone Analyzer which assessed the public’s emotions through tweets about the Met Gala event, the smart gown—worn by supermodel Karolina Kurkova—reacted and changed colors based on the general public’s conveyed online emotions.  

Smart Style

  When it comes to fashion jewelry, the watch is probably one that has seen leaps and bounds in terms of innovation in the past years. Louis Vuitton and TAG Heuer are among the high-fashion brands to introduce Android wear technology into their collections.  
  Clearly designed for its jet-setting clientele, Louis Vuitton’s Tambour Horizon smartwatch is loaded with travel apps, such as City Guides, an app that provides restaurant recommendations and an app that provides information on departure gates and travel times.  
  As for TAG Heuer’s Connected watch, the company said it best. Designed in collaboration with Google and Intel, TAG Heuer Connected watch brings the best of both worlds: Swiss luxury watchmaking and Silicon Valley Technology. Aside from 4,000 customization options for its watch face (because it’s not luxury without the ability to personalize), the upscale smartwatch is a modern-day utilitarian accessory. Clearly telling time is no longer enough, this multi-tasking watch has a built-in GPS, Voice Command, Maps, Google Fit, Google Translate and Music Management apps, just to name a few.  

Street Wear

  But wearable technology is not only confined in haute couture. In fact, by what we are seeing in terms of everyday brands innovating on fabric and materials, it’s safe to say street fashion will likely inspire haute couture when it comes to wearable technology.   For instance, denim brand Levi’s is working on its Commuter x Jacquard by Google Trucker jacket, which features a conductive yarn for touch interactivity so users can simply tap and swipe on their jacket to change music tracks, answer calls or access voice-delivered navigation.  
    We’re already seeing 3D printed shoes by Andreia Chaves, an eco-friendly dress by Diffus Design which uses LED lights to signal the level of air pollution, and a mobile phone dress by CuteCircuit which is designed with built-in speakers and microphones on the sleeves.   At this point, the obvious question remains: Will high-tech fashion ever make it to mainstream street wear? Will we one day be walking around like we live in a science fiction movie with intelligent clothes that react and connect with a tap on our sleeves? At the rate fashion is embracing technology, it’s probably going to come sooner than you think.  

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